I started off my career working with children and young people who grew up in the care system. The young people taught me how important it was to really listen to the experiences of vulnerable people and that by working together we can truly inform and improve services.
In 2006 I had the opportunity to study a PhD in the area of cancer care and I have been working in the area ever since. Despite being a very different area to my earlier job with young people , I use similar skills , I use research methods to actively listen in depth to patients and their families and work in partnership in order to inform and improve services.
All of the projects that I work on aim to understand the impact of Cancer on patients and their families . Recently we have launched an online resource www.cancercaringcoping.com which aims to provide help and support for families affected by cancer. This project was developed by carers, patients and health care professionals. The resource provides information on how to cope with the cancer journey from the point of diagnosis to the end of life . The most recent project I am working on aims to explore the potential to adapt Cancer Caring Coping to meet the needs of families affected by cancer in Vietnam. The We are working together with Hanoi University of Public Health to understand the impact of cancer on patients and families across Vietnam and what we can do to help support them.
A diagnosis of cancer affects entire families. When a loved one is diagnosed with cancer we feel a range of emotions and often don’t know where to turn. I hope that the work that we do can help relieve some of those difficult feelings and help sign post families quickly towards support. I know that my research will never cure cancer but I hope that I can make the journey a little bit more manageable .
Dr Olinda Santin, from the School of Nursing and Midwifery, gives an introduction to the information and support available.
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